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Education funding moves to senate

Staff Writer

Alabama senators are expected to cast votes today on bills that will put money into the Education Trust Fund.

Wednesday, legislators spent a majority of their day in meetings, discussing bills that, if passed, will force corporations to pay more in taxes.

On Wednesday, legislators approved a bill that could raise $20 million for schools.

That will was the first of a $160 million package to pass during the special-called session of the Alabama Legislature.

Members of the Alabama House of Representatives, including the one who represents Pike County, voted 87-0 for a bill that could mean a savings of $12.2 million by lowering the amount paid for educators’ pensions and another $7.7 million by killing some special projects.

State Rep. Alan Boothe, D-Troy, may not be happy with all the bills state, but he did vote for passage.

Boothe said the House sent two bills to the Senate.

"I’m not really happy with it," Boothe said, adding his biggest concern is making the increases retroactive.

"What I want is fairness," he said. "Everyone ought to pay his or her fair share."

Boothe said it is his understanding some companies went from paying $1 million per year in taxes to $15,000 a year after the Alabama Legislature placed a cap on out-of-state companies.

"If you make money in Alabama, you ought to pay taxes," Boothe said.

"I don’t support all of it, but I did vote for it," he said.

Now, the bills are in "the Senate’s ballpark," State Sen. Wendell Mitchell, D-Luverne said Wednesday afternoon, adding "everything" should be eligible for a Senate vote today.

"There is still some opposition to two of those bills," Mitchell said.

Gov. Don Siegelman called lawmakers into special session Dec. 4 in an effort to prevent a $160 million cut for public schools and colleges.